Amphiphilic Derivatives Of Thioether Containing Block Copolypeptides

Tech ID: 29917 / UC Case 2013-315-0


UCLA researchers in the Department of Bioengineering have developed a new method to generate amphiphilic block copolypeptides.


Block copolymers with amphiphilic character can self-assemble into a variety of micellar structures, including spherical micelles, rodlike micelles, or vesicles.  These structures have utility in drug delivery, vesicles for medical diagnostic technologies, and as polymer nanoreactors.  Methionine-containing copolymers are of interest for their biocompatibility and ability to be modified to add desirable functionality.  However, previous protocols require more complex synthesis protocols and are more limited in scope of functional modifications that can be accomplished.


UCLA researchers led by Professor Timothy Deming have developed a novel strategy to create uniform thioether (methionine) containing block copolypeptides.  They have amphiphilic character imparted by selective oxidation and alkylation of methionine residues.  This method allows for the preparation of functional block copolypeptides as well as methods to generate micelles, vesicles, hydrogels, and emulsions.


  • Can be chemically modified by oxidation and alkylation
  • Unique ability to stimulate an antioxidant response in cells


  • Therapeutics: Drug Delivery - can be used to encapsulate drugs, DNA, proteins, RNA, water insoluble drugs, both hydrophilic and hydrophobic drugs with high efficiency
  • Vesicles for Medical Diagnostics - can be used with active compounds for in vivo diagnostic approaches - Decrease concentration of an imaging agent with known side effects, i.e., ultrasound and MRI scans
  • Polymer Nanoreactors - can encapsulate antioxidant enzymes which then detoxify superoxide radicals present in the vesicle environment

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 9,718,921 08/01/2017 2013-315
European Patent Office Published Application WO2014134203 09/04/2014 2013-315


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  • Deming, Timothy J.

Other Information


copolymer, alkylation, oxidation, copolymer alkylation, copolymer oxidation, block copolymer, micelle, vesicles, drug delivery, amphipathic, thioether copolymer, methionine copolymers

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